A familiar face is taking over the helm for the 2018 Indian River High School boys’ lacrosse program.
For the past two season, Dave Spencer has served as the program’s assistant coach to veteran head coach Jim Dietsch. After several years, Dietsch said he felt he wanted to do more for the program overall, outside of the day-to-day coaching duties.
“I am very excited to be the head coach,” Spencer said about taking over an Indians unit that posted a 10-5 record last season. “Jim is still very much with the program. He wanted to concentrate more on the management aspect of the program overall. Me taking over as head coach allows him to take care of other things.”
Spencer has spent his teaching career at Sussex Central, but this year he was able to transfer to a position at Indian River.
“We lost a lot of guys from last year’s team,” Spencer noted. “Somewhere in the area of 13 or 14 seniors graduated, so we are relatively young. We have a lot of sophomores and juniors who will carry the program this year.”
Two of those underclassmen will be Spencer’s son Patrick, a junior, and sophomore Ethan Forrey. Those two, along with senior and Maryland transfer Ryan Burbridge, will anchor the defense for the Indians. They will be counted on heavily to protect the cage, along with junior goalie Samuel Miltner.
“We graduated our goalie from last year, but Sam will be able to step right in for us,” Spencer said of the junior netminder. “Sam has great athleticism, which is big for being a lacrosse goalie. He has been the J.V. goalie the past two seasons.”
The Indians’ offense will be counting on the return of senior Wyatt Kovatch, who scored 56 goals in 2017.
“Wyatt is a very good player, and he will be big for us this year,” Spencer admitted. “He will be able to direct traffic, lead the young guys who are new on varsity. We will be counting on him heavily. He has been a good player for a long time.
“It’s one thing for us as coaches to coach the players, but when they get to see another player do the things we are coaching, it helps immensely.”
Last year saw the Indians capture co-championship honors in the Henlopen Conference South Division, with Milford. It was the first time in the program’s six-year existence that that had happened.
“We definitely have the talent and ability to be competitive again in the south division,” Spencer concluded. “We have a lot of guys coming up from J.V. who with be counted on for significant contributions.”
On the attack: The Indians will open up their campaign with a pair of home contests. They will host Dover on Friday, March 23, at 5:30 p.m., before entertaining Sussex Academy on Monday, March 26, at 5 p.m. They have a stretch of seven road contests out of eight toward the end of the season, from April 11 through April 30. They’ll conclude the season with three straight home dates.